Tuesday, April 28, 2009

On writing... where to begin

A year or two ago I wrote a few posts regarding the how-tos of writing. I decided to offer my own two cents on the subject after a book signing where quite a few people asked me some basic questions: How do you write? How do you get published? It seems a lot of people are wannabe writers. I've decided to offer advice once again with the hope that I can find something useful to say. :)

But how do you get to "wannabe" to "being"? Sounds almost philosophical. ;)

First I'll ask this: Do you want to write? No... Better question: Do you need to write?

I've found that most writers do so because they have something to say--something they just can't bottle up inside. They have stories playing out in their minds, with plots and characters in a wide array of settings. My first scenes in a new story often resemble a movie trailer, but it doesn't have to be visual image in your head. Everyone is different and therefore the creative process varies.

The first step towards becoming a writer is very simple. If you have an idea: write it down. Don't worry about the words you use, at first. Don't worry about imagery, form or synonyms. The main thing is to get your idea, your story onto paper... or the computer screen.

Once you write down as much as you can, then you can go back and make it pretty. But even then, you should always limit how much time goes into editing. Save the bulk of that for the final rough draft.

Now don't be impatient. I said to write down the idea. My beginnings are often a scene or two -- sometimes from the middle of the story. Sometimes I don't even know where the image is going to play. But you have to get that idea down on paper before you lose it. You have to start so you can finish.

So get moving! The world has plenty of room for great stories. We want to hear yours.

Now while you're doing that... I have some work of my own to do. ;)

to be continued

Friday, April 17, 2009

Borrowing kids

Well, not really 'borrowing'. It's more like a temporary adoption thing. ;)

Of course I'm talking about sleep-overs, the great tradition of allowing your children to have friends over to hang-out all night. The name is a misnomer since sleep rarely has anything to do with these activities.

I don't mind the festivities too much. My children are pretty good at picking friends who are polite and basically well-behaved. Who can possibly mind a 13 yob who tells you what a great cook you are? And as long as it's not my hand they're filling with shaving cream, all's well. ;) I also find it's a good opportunity to learn more about who my kids hang-out with...who they may or may not emulate.

So, from time-to-time our house will have a few extra kids on board. Yes, the noise level increases, as does the mess and number of dishes, but no worries. I don't do the dishes anymore... that's the kids' job. ;)

What exciting plans do you have this weekend?

Monday, April 13, 2009

Chuzzle lessons

My favorite computer game at the moment is Chuzzle. I love puzzles and adore the furry little googly-eyed creatures who inhabit this colorful game. I really love the sounds they make when you get three or more in a row -- and the explosions. It's almost as satisfying as slamming a door. ;)

However, I've also learned something from this odd little game. A life lesson, of sorts.

Let me explain for the Chuzzle-impaired...

On some levels, a chuzzle will become 'locked'. When that happens, you cannot move it or the row it's in -- at least not in every direction. This limits how you can move and, therefore, your number of possible moves. If you get too many locked at one time, you lose.

But I've discovered something quite by accident. Sometimes, if a move doesn't present itself right away, all you have to do is keep playing and wait. Eventually the little fuzzballs will move around enough so that the colors line up and you can pop those locked spaces. I've also found if you can get a locked one all the way to the bottom of the box it will be taken care of by the natural course of the game.

Now here comes the analogy...

Sometimes in life we come upon a road block; an obstacle to achieving whatever it is we want. We can try to work through it; we can fight our way around it. However, there are times when there really doesn't seem to be a way to win. If we can only keep going ... keeping working with our goal in mind, eventually, in the natural course of life, the solution will be there. The obstacle will be taken away. The problem solved.

Notice I said to 'keep working'. At no time should we ever give up on what's really important, but maybe we need to find a new strategy. Perhaps we need to re-evaluate our priorities and make sure we're seeking after the right thing. And sometimes we need to put our faith in something bigger than ourselves.

It will work out. We will overcome. Sometimes we just have to be very patient... and play a game or two to pass the time. ;)

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

In a rut...

And looking for advice.

Come on over and leave your .02 behind. ;)

Shades of Suspense